Monday, April 20, 2015

Survival Knots

I love knots. Ever since I was a young Boy Scout I’ve loved to tie and use knots. Yes I am strange. Knots are so useful. Depending on your footwear you use knots every day. I was watching a documentary on nuclear submarines. Nuclear submarines are amazing technological wonders. They have changed the way submarines are used. At the end of the documentary the narrator was standing next to a docked sub. He was making his closing remarks when I noticed something. This marvel of technology was tied to the dock with a rope in a knot! With all that futuristic electronic equipment and weaponry being run by a nuclear reactor, the boat still was tied to the dock with rope!
Knot work in the Boy Scouts is referred to as “Tenderfoot work”. Tying knots is a skill that will help you throughout your life. I enjoy knot tying so I tend to practice so that I will remember. Like any other skill this is one you need to practice.
1.The working end
In knotting terms the end of the rope that is used to actually tie and form the knot is known as the Working End, such as the end used to tie a Figure of Eight Re-Threaded. The working end can also be referred to as the tag end.
2. A Bight
A bight is a U-shaped section of rope usually used to tie knots on the bight. A knot tied on the bight will normally form a Loop-Knot.
3. The Crossing Point
A crossing point is where the rope crosses itself, this will happen if we take a bight of rope and twist it to form a loop.
4. An Overhand Loop
Depending on which direction we twist a bight to form a loop, we will either end up with an overhand loop or an underhand loop. An overhand loop is created when the working end of the rope lies over the top of the standing part.
5. The Interlocking Elbows
Interlocking elbows occur when a bight of rope is twisted twice to form two crossing points. Knots such as the Alpine Butterfly are tied by firstly forming interlocking elbows.
6. An Underhand Loop
If the standing part of the rope lies over the top of the working end, then an underhand loop is formed. An underhand loop is the opposite of the overhand loop.
7. The Standing Part
The standing part is the length of rope, cord or twine that lies between the working end and the standing end. If we were to abseil or rappel down a rope, we would attach to and descend down the standing part.
8. The Standing End
The standing end is the opposite of the working or tag end of the rope. When rappelling this would be the end of the rope that we send down to the ground or landing point. Never forget to tie a stopper knot near the standing end, even if the ropes do touch the ground or landing point.
When a knot is properly dressed, it means that each part of the knot is in the right place with the correct tension. The rope doesn't cross itself unnecessarily, and nothing is more slack or taut than it should be. Knots that are improperly dressed can lead to excessive stress and rubbing on the knots, which will gradually weaken the rope and, eventually, cause the knot to fail.
I think there are 7 basic knots everyone should learn.
The square knot (AKA reef knot):
The best known and most useful package knot. It should preferably only be tied with the two ends of the same material, but should never be used as a bend. It is the best knot for tying a triangular bandage.
WARNING: The reef knot should never be used as a bend to join two ropes that will be under load. The reef-knot is only useful in simple applications.
Good Points
· easily tied
Bad Points
· can slip
· can come undone under movement
· will capsize or jam under load
· its relatives, the granny, the thief-knot and the what-knot all have their purposes, but not as a trustful knot it is strictly a binding knot, reliable only when pressed against something
else and tied in both ends of the same material so restrict its use to bandages and all sorts of packages.

The Bowline: Loop knot
The most useful and one of the simplest ways of putting a fixed loop in the end of a rope. It is easy to tie and to untie, it never slips nor jams and has a high breaking strength. It has been called the “King of Knots”.
Good Points
· easy to tie and untie
· never slips nor jams
· has a high breaking strength
· it will not slip under load
· the more pressure applied, the stronger the knot
· easily untied
Bad Points
· cannot be tied or untied with a load on it
· though the Bowline isn’t generally bad, it isn’t secure enough for critical applications, especially where the line will see a lot of jerking and/or where stiff or slippery rope is used. If you tie a Bowline in polypropylene rope, and give it a few jerks, you’ll quickly discover its lack of security.

Two half hitches: Attaching knot
This knot can be used to secure a rope in a variety of situations. It can be placed under a lot of strain and is easy to untie.

Good Points
· it rarely jams!
· a good hitch in almost all circumstances
· easy to untie even after being subjected to a large strain
· easy to tie even when the line is under tension
Bad Points
· not many!
· possible to work loose if subject to spasmodic motion
· sometimes seen with more than two half hitches either to make it more

Taut Line (AKA Rolling Hitch):
Where a lengthwise pull from a pole or static
line is needed, this old faithful takes some beating.
Good Points
· strain can be applied sideways to this knot in one direction
· can be tied around a pole/ring or for attaching a light line to a rope
Bad Points
· can only cope with strain in one direction
Clove hitch: Attaching a rope to something knot
The nearest there is to a general utility hitch. It is easy to tie in a number of different ways and to untie. It has a wide variety of uses but care should be taken not to misuse it: it is so easy to use it when a more suitable hitch (e.g. a Rolling Hitch etc.) would serve better.
Good Points
· quick and easy to tie
· can be tied in the bight
· can be tied one handed

Bad Points
· can slip in wet conditions or in slippery rope
· weak when a load is applied to it rapidly
· needs constant tension on both ends
· without extra support, it is untrustworthy in any situation, except as a crossing knot
· if you have to use it, work it up properly; pull length-wise only at both ends before you load the working end
· the standing end should be secured if it is going to be used as an 'anchor' as it may work loose otherwise
· if you have to use it, work it up properly; pull length-wise only at both ends before you load the working end. It is better to use the Rolling Hitch instead

Figure 8 knot: Stop knot. This creates a larger knot than the overhand knot.
This knot is favoured by climbers because its distinctive shape makes it easy to check.
Good Points
· easy to spot if tied incorrectly
· easily tied
· secure
Bad Points
· cannot be tied with a load on it
· This is a very useful knot for climbing (e.g. attaching your safety rope to your harness) as you can see at a glance if the knot is tied correctly.
· A half hitch can be tied around the standing part to make the knot more secure

Sheet bend (AKA Weavers knot):
The sheet bend is very similar to the square knot, granny knot, thief knot, and particularly the bowline. In fact, the sheet bend can be tied using the One Handed Twist Method which is also used to tie the bowline.
Good Points
· very fast to tie
· when slipped, is one of the easiest bends to work with
· useful when joining two ropes of different diameters.
· it will not slip under load
· the more pressure applied, the stronger the knot
· easily untied
Bad Points
· it may jam
· hard to untie if wet and under strain (for instance in a towline)
· the knot is neither strong nor secure. It reduces the strength of lines by 55% and can spill if subject to spasmodic jerking

These are only 7 knots. There are so many more! Knots are so useful but could actually help you survive in a bad situation. I practice knots to relax. They are fun to me.
If you had only these 7 knots memorized you would probably not need any others. They could actually save your life one day.
So tie a knot and live!

Semper Paratus
Check 6